Friday, July 3, 2009

Prayer 101: How to Pray for Our Nation

How do you celebrate the 4th of July? In my family, we always attended a family reunion on the 4th. For me, the holiday is associated with seeing long-lost cousins and eating potluck. Others attend parades, concerts, or festivals. Still others grill in their backyard. I know a few people who spend the day in front of the History Channel or PBS, and others who go camping. Most of us will watch a fireworks show--either live or on TV--and many of us will make our own (though with this dry climate, you'd better be careful).

I wonder what our founding fathers would think of our Independence Day celebrations. I imagine it would be a mix of puzzlement ("What do fireworks, hot dogs, and rock music have to do with the signing of the Declaration of Independence? And what's a TV, anyway") and joy (after all, in their day, this little experiment in democracy was fragile indeed...they'd surely be glad to know the whole thing is still alive after two-and-three-quarters centuries). But--given the devout religious faith of at least some of our founding fathers, I imagine the sort of celebration they would most prefer would be a prayerful one. They of all people would know how quickly liberty can devolve into tyranny, and would hope that would jealousy and prayerfully guard our freedoms.

So how do we pray for our nation, anyway? Is it enough simply to ask, "God bless America?" Or should we pray more specifically? And if so, for what should we pray? We'll take a look this Sunday at how Psalm 46 answers that question. See you there, and try not to stay up too late on the fourth.

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